2012 in Words: Family

Today we’re wrapping up our month-long focus on families.  I can’t believe that June is already over and we’re looking forward to the summer and July.  In many ways I think summer was made for families because it creates so many opportunities for families.  This summer, I encourage you to make time for family.  Why?  If you haven’t gotten the message yet, because family is the answer to whether we will or won’t succeed as people. We’re individuals, yes, but we’re individuals part of a bigger scheme, and whether you think of your family as your flesh and blood or as the people who mean the most to you, you wouldn’t survive without them.  So what does it all come down to?  For me there are 3 things:

Be together:
Spending time together, working together, communicating together, dreaming together, these things are all aspects that will help you have a healthy and happy family.

Learn together:
This starts by accepting that you’re all changing, growing and moving depending on what happens in life.  No one is exactly the same as they were when they first met or were first born.  Life is about learning how to live together, as well as enjoying learning about life together.

Love together:
This may be the most important part.  First we have to love ourselves.  This in and of itself is a lifetime task. Then we have to learn how to love those around.  Sometimes loving someone means giving them some space, and other times it means simply being there.  Love is one of the best parts about our life journeys and always reminds us that we’re not alone.

What have you learned about your family or yourself this month in our discussions on family?  Share your thoughts below.

Opening Up

This month we’ve been talking about families, and one of the hardest things to do with families is open up.  Sometimes it seems like the last people that you tell when something is going on is your family.  You may start with God, your best friends, your coworkers and maybe your internet friends, before you tell your family.  However, I’d like to change that.  Check out what Sara Paddison says:

“Being vulnerable doesn’t have to be threatening. Just have the courage to be sincere, open and honest. This opens the door to deeper communication all around. It creates self-empowerment and the kind of connections with others we all want in life. Speaking from the heart frees us from the secrets that burden us. These secrets are what make us sick or fearful. Speaking truth helps you get clarity on your real heart directives.”

Whether we’re talking about family or faith, if you truly want success you need to be open!  It’s not about seeing how low you can go, who can make the biggest mistake and admit it, and it’s certainly not about taking people’s mistakes and using them against them.  The only way to a better relationship with God or the people in your life is to open up and communicate (which means both listening and talking).  Yes, it can be scary, but when you open up they can open up to you too.

I’ve experienced what it’s like to both have really open and vulnerable relationships and have really limited relationships with God and people.  Honestly, when I feel most alive and satisfied are when I’m in those open relationships.

Do you need to open up more in your relationships?  This week try it out and see what you think!  I’d love to hear the results too.

Romance in the Family

This month in our conversations about family, one of the important things to talk about is romance.  Why?  Because the example you set for your kids will affect how they are when it comes to romantic relationships.

Let’s start off with an easy example.  If you’re always yelling at your partner and speak negatively about them to the kids, what do you think the kids will do?  Either they’ll treat their partners the exact same way, or, they’ll treat their partners differently and make sure their partners know that you were a terrible example and they want to be a better partner than you were.

So what if we were to transform the attitude and actions we have towards our partners?  Not only would we be teaching our kids good lessons and be setting a good example for our kids, we’ll also be treating our partners better!  Richard Bach said:

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.”

I don’t know about you but I would much rather set a good example and establish a good bond with my kids than one built from fear, rejection, a lack of communication and anger.  Does your relationship have room for respect and joy in it?  Or is it filled with hostility?  What bond are you creating within your family?

Are You Aware?

Lately I’ve really been thinking about how tough it is to really live your life when your head is in a funk, you’re feeling depressed or just haven’t found your groove yet. Before you get offended, I’m not making fun of you if you’re in that situation, I’ve been there (and am just getting through there again), myself!  The realization I came to this week was that I was missing out on not just my life, but enjoying it as well, because I wasn’t aware of how poor my attitude was.  The lesson I learned reminded me of Luke 8:14:

“What about the seed that fell among the thorny weeds? That is like the people who hear God’s teaching, but they let the worries, riches, and pleasures of this life stop them from growing. So they never produce a crop.”

Your life is filled with opportunities, if only you are aware of them!  If you just lost your job and are focused on that, you won’t get a new job until you become aware that life goes on.  If you hate working for a boss, you won’t feel better, want to get a new job or start a business, until you realize that you have the power to change that funk!

This week I encourage you to take time to really see what’s going on in your life and make sure that you’re aware of who you’re being and water the seeds that fall into your life.

Family Love

In this conversation about family this month we’ve talked about being well together and parenting.  Today we’re going to talk about an aspect of family that is really part of a bigger conversation-showing love.  What can you do to show the people in your family that you care?

1-do something before you’re asked.  You can take out the garbage, vacuum, pick up toys or balance the checkbook, just to name a few.

2-do something special because you know someone else likes it. Pick up a special treat, offer a back massage, or bring home a favorite book from the library just because.

3-do date nights. This applies to all ages, having special alone mom-kid/mom-dad/dad-kid time can mean the world to them.

4-be considerate.  If you know someone has a big test, interview or project, you can plan an easy meal, do some extra work around the house or just try not to be as “friendly” (aka annoying) as usual.

5-listen.  As easy and simple as it sounds, so many people don’t listen to others.  Taking the time to listen and then act accordingly (unless they tell you to jump off a bridge) will mean a lot to your family.

What do you do to show your family you love them?  Share your ideas below.

10 Truths

Recently I read an article about 10 truths that we forget about ourselves.  I don’t know about you, but life has been pretty busy for me lately so taking the time to remember those truths reminded me of some others I thought you might have forgotten about.

1-You’re amazing.  Yes, it’s that simple.  No matter what anyone else says, I think you’re amazing.

2-You’re loved.  I love you, and more importantly God loves you (every bit of you).

3-You don’t have to be perfect.  Perfection isn’t what really matters in life-how you live your life is.

4-Your life has purpose.  You may not be living that purpose today but you do indeed have a purpose to fulfill.

5-You deserve great things.  No one deserves to be walked on or ignored-you deserve the best.

6-You matter.  Life wouldn’t be the same without you.  You may not see how you fit into the picture now, but somewhere in your life you’ll make an impact on at least one person.

7-It’s OK to forgive and be forgiven.  So many people believe that they have to carry the guilt around for years, decades and lifetimes even.  This isn’t true, you deserve the freedom, and have the ability to free others too.

8-Every life has seasons.  The seasons in your life mean that there will be times when you’re overwhelmed and it’s important, even necessary, to rest, and other times when things aren’t as busy that you’ll need to really push through.

9-You can make a difference.  It’s always been said that one person can’t make a difference, but I don’t believe that’s true.  I’ve had several people make a difference in my life and because of the effort they made, I’m who I am today.

10-At any time you can choose to change your life.  You don’t have to wait for the handsome prince to ride up on a white horse-you can start making changes today.

What truths have you forgotten that you need to remember more often?  Share your truths below.

Kids and Parenting

This month in our talks about family, one big topic is kids and parenting.  It’s never been easy to be a parent, and it’s always going to be a big responsibility.  But over the years I’ve learned from parents, and had my own experiences that have helped me.  Here are some of my tips.

1-you raise your children, but ultimately they make their own decisions.  You do the best you can to raise them and then you do have to let them loose on the world and trust that you’ve raised them the best you can.

2-always teach good values.  To some families this does mean raising your children to know and hopefully believe a particular faith, but to all families this means teaching your kids how to treat others right and respect themselves.

3-practice what you preach.  If you want your kids to learn good habits and how to behave around others, you have to show them how to do it.  The first people your kids witness in regards to sex and romantic relationships, communicating with each other, and attitude towards life, is you.

4-don’t hide everything.  Your kids have to learn the realities of life sometime, and it’s better if they do it in a safe environment with you.  This doesn’t mean that you should balance your checkbook in their presence every month when you know it won’t balance or you should fight over everything things in front of them. But let’s face it-they often see, hear and pick up on more than you think.

5-get support.  You’re not alone in this parenting thing-you’ve got a whole community of people around you.  You should have family and friends around you to help you as well as the local school systems, teachers and babysitters who can help you raise your kids.

We all have our own approaches and styles. No one raises any kid the same, which is appropriate because no two kids are ever the same.  You don’t have to do the same thing as your neighbor, but these key points should be part of your parenting package.